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Medieval European History

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    The chapter on Feudal monarchy in RHC Davis’s book helps in highlighting the problems and the workings of the times that today are not only incomprehensible but also are not present and therefore difficult to imagine. The chapter delineates the history of monarchy in the early period of the last millennium. It highlights the importance of the moving of the crown for one monarch to the next and the battles and the manipulations that helped in the taking shape of events the way they did. This paper helps in highlighting the lineage of the monarchs at that time and the important events at the turn of the last millennium. It is hoped that the reader feels satisfied after reading a detailed account that is given below.

    Prelude to the Battle of Hastings:

    The account for the sake of relevance is highlighted with King Edward of England also called "The Confessor" because of his construction of Westminster Abbey death on January 5. The event of his death started a three-way rivalry for the crown that culminated in the Battle of Hastings and the destruction of the Anglo-Saxon rule of England.

    The first and foremost in the line for the crown was Harold Godwinson, also the brothers-in-law of the king married Harold's sister. His claim had certain validity as the dying Edward supposedly uttered "Into Harold's hands I commit my Kingdom." It is a fact that Harold’s coronation took place the same day as Edward's burial. However unfortunately, with the placing of the crown on his head, Harold's troubles began. The second contender to the throne was the Duke of Normandy, William, who also laid claim to the English throne. The claim of William was justified through his blood relationship with Edward as they were distant cousins. William also claimed that Edward had designated him as his successor. William further went on to claim that Harold had sworn on the relics of a martyred saint that he would support William's right to the throne.

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    Therefore William justified this aggression as when Harold donned the Crown he not only defied the wishes of Edward but had violated a sacred oath. Therefore William immediately prepared to invade England and destroy the upstart Harold. However what was more disturbing was that Harold's violation of his sacred oath enabled William to secure the support of the Pope. Therefore after this Harold was excommunicated. The third rival for the throne was Harald Hardrada, who was the King of Norway. His justification was even stronger than William's. It is of interest to note that Hardrada ruled Norway jointly with his nephew Mangus until 1047.

    This can be regarded as the most complicated of all claims. It should be noted that the history goes such that Mangus had made a deal with Harthacut the Danish ruler of England, of promising their kingdom to each other in the event of their deaths. Harthacut had died but Mangus was unable to follow up on his claim to the English throne as he was too busy battling for the rule of Denmark. Therefore in his absence, Edward became the Anglo-Saxon ruler of England. The events therefore were such that Mangus and Edward were dead, and therefore Hardrada asserted that he, as Mangus's heir, was the rightful ruler of England. He too set of to invade England and crush the upstart.

    Battle of Hastings and William the Conqueror:

    Hardrada of Norway struck first. The invasion sent King Harold to the north at the head of his army picking up reinforcements along the way. The speed of Harold's forced and a fierce battle that followed helped in conquering the invading arm, and therefore Harold won the battle.

    Harold received word of William's landing near Hastings. Harold rushed his army to hastings tand the famous battle with the forces of Harold atop the hill and those ofd William in the valley proceeded. Finally, as evening approached, the English line gave way and the Normans rushed their enemy with a vengeance. King Harold fell as did the majority of the Saxon aristocracy. On Christmas day 1066, William was crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey.

    The Plates of the Bayuex Tapestry:

    This is one of the, most prized works of history. It is widely believed that the Tapestry was commissioned by Bishop Odo, who was bishop of Bayeux and also the half-brother of William the Conqueror. This Tapestry contains a visual history and therefore is divided into scenes each one describing a particular event. These scenes are joined into a linear sequence. This sequence allows the viewer to "read" the entire story, which starts with the first scene and progresses to the last. The Tapestry is above all a Norman document. The tapestry has been written in a time when the vast majority of the population was illiterate. Therefore the Tapestry's images were designed to tell the story of the conquest of England from the Norman perspective. It focuses on the storyof William, and makes no mention of Hardrada of Norway nor of Harold's victory at Stamford Bridge.

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